A much longer stage today but a flat stage. Yesterday there was a small ‘off’ for Geoff when he clipped a curb, today it was my turn. About 20 km in to our ride there was a small incident and myself and Rhett hit the ground. My shoulder and hip took the fall and feel bruised, our physio, Rhia, kept an eye on me through the day and checked out my injuries at each of the stops, the bike needed some attentions too. We have our own Mechanic, Graham, who checked the bike over and got me back on the road, luckily there were no major hills today as the crash has caused some damage to the gears, which could not be fixed on the roadside, I could not select the top cog on the rear cassette, nothing too much to worry about though, I could nurse it through today’s stage. Tonight I’ll be first in to the sports massage and the bike will be given a full repair and service. I have a spare hanger for the rear derailleur which should sort the problem, It isn’t the first time I’ve come off my bike and I’m sure it won’t be the last, what is important it that on if I fall, I get back up and keep going. We have £1,000,000 to raise and a small knock will not stop me.
The route today started in Rosklide, a city 30 Kilometres from Copenhagen, from there we we headed around the coastal roads. This route must have been a nightmare for the Tour De France organisers, on each stage they award jerseys; Yellow for the leader; Green for the winner of the sprints; and Polka dot for the fasters up the mountains. But Denmark is flat, the highest mountain is Møllehøj which is just a little higher than The Malvern’s. There is an urban myth about categories of climb in The Tour de France being categorised by driving an old Citroen 2CV up the mountain and the gears used set the category of the climb, but the reality is a calculation based on gradient and distance with some adjustment and bending of these rules by the organisers to make sure there are some points on offer to the climbers in the early stages, making sure the Polka Dot jersey can be awarded each day. Even thought there were 3 category 4 climbs at around 60 Kilometres today, the bending of the rules was in full effect, they were only a couple of hundred feet each, nothing more than we would do on our Thursday ride to Worcester (up and over Hanbury Hill), I suspect the Polka Dot Jersey rider next week won’t be a mountain climber in the traditional sense.
As we rode trough the towns and villages we passed many Tour de France themed displays, a whole house in white with Red dots with a matching nearby bus stop, and two giant flags one French, one Danish, on either side of the road. At 130 Kilometres we reached Kalundborg where the first sprint points of the Tour De France will be awarded, but we kept the pace low and controlled. It would be easy to go too hard early on and suffer later in the tour and these first few days will help us get in to the routine of team work and structure which will take us all the way to Paris. After the last stop of the day Andy Cook, our ride captain, asked me to lead the group to control the pace, and for the last 15Km I was joined on from by the only other lady on the team, Nicole, what a superb moment two women leading the group on a Stage of the Tour de France, two women at the head of a group of 22 riders all resplendent in their Cure Leukaemia team kit.
At 185 kilometres we had to end the stage, the last 20 Kilometres took us across a motorway bridge, despite several attempts but the Tour 21 organisers to get the police to have a rolling road block and allow us to ride over, the permission never came. Our first ride of significant distance was not without incident, with my little bump and, yes … you’ve guessed it… Geoff had a puncture! It was thoroughly enjoyable although I have a feeling we are being dragged in to a false sense of security. At one point we were just 1 meter above sea level, when we ride over the Col Du Galibier we will be at a height of 2642 meters.
Our last ride in Denmark is tomorrow, another 182 kilometres, a stage closer to Paris and I’m sure will be another day I will never forget.